Gloucester overwhelm Harlequins with impressive show
Gloucester produced one of their finest performances of the season as they crushed Harlequins 28-6 to gain a sixth Aviva Premiership victory so far.
The score may not have said it but the Cherry and Whites, who scored tries from Welsh fly-half James Hook, Ben Morgan and wing Steve McColl, had Quins by the throat from the first whistle to the last.
Inspired Hook kicked 13 points via three penalties and two conversions, with the only Harlequins replies coming from two penalties by captain Nick Evans in the first half.
Gloucester could easily have been out of sight with a bonus point by the break had it not been for some excellent last-ditch cover defence from Quins.
Former England wing Charlie Sharples was twice denied on the visitors' line by seven-times-capped England star Marland Yarde in virtually identical circumstances.
The first close call came within 18 seconds of kick-off when Sharples got free near his own line, raced through a gap and kicked the ball over the opposition line only for Yarde to get there a split-second beforehand.
An almost mirror image of that incident happened after 25 minutes, while Quins were lucky to survive when they bundled McColl into touch a metre short.
They just missed another when a Hook grubber kick was too strong and dribbled over the dead-ball line two minutes from the interval.
However, by the break, the Cherry and Whites were 23-6 up as they looked to add Quins' scalp to their February 5 win over Bath.
Hook wriggled over for the opening try after three minutes from a move that saw the ball spun along the backs, while Morgan was out to prove a point to England coach Eddie Jones with a solid first half which included driving past Quins centre Matt Hopper to touch down.
Hook converted both tries and booted his penalties against Evans' pair. And Harlequins did not help themselves when full-back Ross Chisholm tackled home full-back Billy Burns without the ball to spend 10 minutes in the sin-bin.
At 23-6, Gloucester gave Quins more of the same in the second half.
Harlequins coach Conor O'Shea put on five replacements at once but they failed to change things, with Hook inspired in the backs and flanker Matt Kvesic, who returned to his club from England Six Nations training during the week, another Gloucester man sending a message to Jones.
The penalty count against Quins starved them on possession and prevented a fightback.
Tim Visser, back with Harlequins from Scotland duty last week, went closest to a visiting try when he was stopped a metre short after a blistering left-wing run.
Yarde also had a few thrusts into the home defence while McColl's 78th-minute try was the only score of the second period and, unlike the incredible 39-39 draw between them at Christmas, there was only one team in this return fixture.